New era, but the same old habits

15 August 2011
It will come as no comfort to those who have suffered in its wake, but according to the results of a recent study, 58 per cent of companies report the financial crisis has actually improved their competitiveness. It found those companies that embarked on restructuring – including cutting costs, increased flexibility and improved strategy – have improved their market position. According to the study by consultancy Roland Berger, 83 per cent believe this type of reorganisation should now be a constant process, with cost cutting the most important tactic for 81 per cent. Risk management is a priority for just 50 per cent of companies. And the best way to save money? Cut the prices of goods and services the organisation buys, said 67 per cent or respondents. Just 41 per cent think outsourcing is a useful way to reduce costs, instead preferring adjustments to staff pay. But while 69 per cent of businesses are concerned by fluctuating raw material prices, most believe passing this risk on to customers is a better strategy than either trying to hedge against it, or coming up with alternative products and designs. The view of Chinese firms is enlightening. They are the most interested in risk management (69 per cent), they believe improving R&D is equally as important as cutting prices paid, and they are the most concerned about raw material prices (88 per cent). The biggest impediment to the recovery for all companies worldwide remains the availability of skilled staff.
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